Movements and money

How to destroy Christianity in Europe

Looking for an effective way to render the church in Europe impotent? No need for fierce persecution. Here’s the plan — give the church social recognition; turn the clergy into government employees; shower the church with money.

In 2013 the Catholic Church in Germany received almost €5.5 billion ($6.2 billion USD) via taxes levied by the government on the church’s behalf. (The Lutheran and some other Protestant churches benefit from the same arrangement.)

Here’s the result:

An unprecedentedly low number of Catholic priests in Germany are being ordained, new figures show, as a crisis appears to be engulfing the Church in that country.

Only 58 men joined the clergy in 2015….

The number of ordinations has dropped by half in the past decade: In 2005, a total of 122 diocesan priests were ordained, and five decades ago, in 1965, the number was 500. Today, there are 14,000 Catholic priests active in Germany, down from almost 20,000 in 1990.

Meanwhile, only 96 new seminarians – trainee priests – were registered in 2015, the lowest number ever. At the same time, 309 priests died, and 19 left the priesthood.

The new figures for priests being ordained are the latest element of what appears to be a crisis in the German Catholic Church. In July, it emerged that almost 200,000 Catholics left the Church in Germany last year… 

read on

The movement principle — don’t feed the ducks!

Newbigin's shift — from a traditional to a movements paradigm

 
Lesslie Newbigin

Lesslie Newbigin

I was compelled to ask myself whether it is really true that the Church’s obedience to the Great Commission is intended to be contingent upon the accident of a budgetary surplus.
— Lesslie Newbigin

Lesslie Newbigin was one of the great missionary statesmen of the 20th Century. He spent much of his life in India. He began with a tradition paradigm of ministry that relied on foreign workers, funding and supervision. He soon discovered its limitations.

I have lived and worked as a missionary within the structure typical of modern missions, responsible for the conduct of institutions, for the supervision of Indian workers, for the employment and control of teachers and others in charge of congregations. I have seen this system come to a practical standstill: funds were not available to increase the number of salaried workers. ... Only if some fresh resources came from ‘home’ could the mission become a mission again. As it was, it was plain that any talk of ‘winning India for Christ’ was not serious. I was compelled to ask myself whether it is really true that the Church’s obedience to the Great Commission is intended to be contingent upon the accident of a budgetary surplus.

Rather than fix what was broken, Newbigin became a careful observer of what God was doing on the fringes.

The answer came through various experiences. Firstly, through seeing how ordinary lads from village congregations ... could themselves become active witnesses and evangelists among their comrades. Secondly, through learning to call on the services of all kinds of lay men and women as volunteer pastors and evangelists for the village congregations left without the guidance of a full-time worker. And thirdly, most decisively, through the experience of a small group-movement in a very backward area where the Gospel had only recently been preached for the first time. ...

Here’s what happened next…

the churches began to multiply themselves by a kind of spontaneous growth which was not dependent upon increasing outside resources. In an area almost entirely pagan, the number of Christian congregations rose from thirteen to fifty-five in twelve years. ... In the midst of a movement of this kind, one could speak seriously about winning India for Christ.

Lesslie Newbigin, Trinitarian Doctrine for Today’s Mission (London: Paternoster Press, 1998), 74-77.

Financial dependency and the death of a movement

IStock 000001176262Small

Dependency occurs when a local church [ed. or church planting movement] requires funding or leadership from outside of its own members in order carry out the core biblical responsibilities of a local church under normal conditions.

Consequences of financial dependency include a lack of ownership, stunted growth, mixed motives in leadership, confused accountability, suspicion of foreign influence, and compromised witness.

For a church to be sustainable it must be able to carry out its core biblical functions without relying on foreign funding or leadership.

The benefits of sustainability are the opposites of the consequences of dependency listed above.

Ken Stout

In this masters thesis, Ken Stout does a great job of wrestling with the relationship between financial dependency and the health of a movement.

Baptisms @ $762,000 each

Reader Dave writes,

Steve

Good challenge on Zero dollar church planting.

The Jan 2012 issue of the International Bulletin of Missionary Research (IBMR) publishes the annual statistics of the "Status of Global Mission". They identify that $762,000 per year is the "cost effectiveness" per baptism, globally.

Granted, the numbers include all Christian groups of every "flavor" (para-church and denominational), but it does cause you to gasp! …and causes you to want to ask probing questions to know more…

Thanks for your good work and blog articles. And, your book, What Jesus Started, has arrived for those of us who pre-ordered.

Christmas blessings!

Dave

All we need is $762,000,000,000,000,000 to reach the next billion people.

UPDATE: Here's the direct link to the article. Look for item 55 on page 29.

UPDATE: That figure should be $762,000,000,000,000 (not $762,000,000,000,000,000) to reach the next billion people. Thanks to Fro for the correction. I feel much much better now.

Baptisms @ $762,000 each

Reader Dave writes,

Steve

Good challenge on Zero dollar church planting.

The Jan 2012 issue of the International Bulletin of Missionary Research (IBMR) publishes the annual statistics of the "Status of Global Mission". They identify that $762,000 per year is the "cost effectiveness" per baptism, globally.

Granted, the numbers include all Christian groups of every "flavor" (para-church and denominational), but it does cause you to gasp! …and causes you to want to ask probing questions to know more…

Thanks for your good work and blog articles. And, your book, What Jesus Started, has arrived for those of us who pre-ordered.

Christmas blessings!

Dave

All we need is $762,000,000,000,000,000 to reach the next billion people.

UPDATE: Here's the direct link to the article. Look for item 55 on page 29.

UPDATE: That figure should be $762,000,000,000,000 (not $762,000,000,000,000,000) to reach the next billion people. Thanks to Fro for the correction. I feel much much better now.

Zero dollar church planting

IMG_2743.JPG I'm still coming terms with the reality that Nigeria has a current population of 170 million people. High fertility rates mean there will be 300 million Nigerians within the next 25 years.

Sub-saharan Africa is in the midst of a population explosion that will continue for at least the next fifty years. Even tiny Liberia, has doubled its population since 1995 despite two horrific civil wars, the last of which finished in 2003. Everywhere you go there are children and young people.

Do we really think that our current methods and funding strategies can stretch far enough, and move quickly enough to reach Africa's millions?

Jesus sent his disciples out, two by two, with empty wallets. The resources are in the harvest.

Zero dollar church planting

IMG_2743.JPG I'm still coming terms with the reality that Nigeria has a current population of 170 million people. High fertility rates mean there will be 300 million Nigerians within the next 25 years.

Sub-saharan Africa is in the midst of a population explosion that will continue for at least the next fifty years. Even tiny Liberia, has doubled its population since 1995 despite two horrific civil wars, the last of which finished in 2003. Everywhere you go there are children and young people.

Do we really think that our current methods and funding strategies can stretch far enough, and move quickly enough to reach Africa's millions?

Jesus sent his disciples out, two by two, with empty wallets. The resources are in the harvest.